5 Essential Tips to Prepare for Your First Truck Driving Job

Truck driving on highway between fields i

Once you have earned your CDL, you’re officially on the job hunt. You not only want to find your first trucking job. You also want to make sure it’s the right job for you. This takes determination, dedication, and an awareness of what you want out of your job.

These tips will help you prepare to find a trucking company that hire you and put you on the path to a successful career. If you have graduated from a company-sponsored CDL program, you are likely already set up with a job at a trucking company. Still, keep these tips in mind for future job opportunities.

1. Define Your Career Goals.

Truck driving is like any career. Your first job will not be perfect. You won’t be pampered and given the best freight as a rookie driver. As with any entry-level position, you are expected to pay your dues.

While you may not stay at your first trucking company for the rest of your career, you should look at your overall objectives. Where do you want this initial trucking position to take you in one year? How about five years down the road? Or ten? Defining your career goals takes some self-awareness.

Consider the balance of money and mileage that you want now and the balance that you hope to reach eventually. This is a constant struggle for truck drivers, so it’s important to keep this in mind as your start your job hunt and your career.

Also, when seeking employment, you should also consider the experience that each company will offer you. For example, if you want to make more money in the future by hauling HAZMAT, then you’ll want to look for a company that gives you the opportunity to put a lot of HAZMAT on your truck driver resume.

To learn more about pay, read our complete guide on Truck Driver Salary.

2. Research Truck Driving Jobs.

Before signing up with any trucking company, research each one in your area. Speak with other truck drivers that haul for each company you are interested in. This gives you an inside peek into the industry and can provide some crucial information.

Go online, read the forums on ClassADrivers.com, and Google the trucking company you receive an offer from. Compare employee satisfaction and safety ratings among them. The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration provides safety information in a five-star rating system. If the trucking company has low ratings, then they have probably not maintained their equipment well. Steer clear.

3. Invest in Your Appearance.

Shirt collar
First impressions matter. Wear a collared shirt.

Another useful tip to remember for your job interviews is to clean up and dress well.

As they say, you only get one chance to make a good impression. This includes everything from your personal hygiene to the outfit you choose.

For many drivers holding a new CDL, this is your first interview.

Instead of a tank top and cargo shorts, put on a nice pair of pants and a button-up shirt. If you don’t currently have some nice clothes, visit Amazon.

Search for the term “cheap clothing,” and you’ll be able to find something for under $50. Be sure to order your new clothes a few weeks before you begin the interview process, so they get to you in time

With these new outfits, you will be able to stand out from the other interviewing truck drivers in a good way. A better first impression means a better chance of getting hired.

4. Speak With Trucking Company Recruiters.

There are a ton of trucking companies out there. Finding the right one for you takes time. To become familiar with the industry, try to meet with several trucking company recruiters. Ask questions about the company they work for.

The more recruiters you meet, the more you learn about the trucking companies and job opportunities that are out there. Capitalize on your meetings and job interviews by bringing your A-game. And importantly, make sure to show up on time!

And check out the Top 5 Productivity Apps that will help you manage and track all your conversations with trucking recruiters.

5. Treat Your First Truck Driving Job as a Learning Experience.

Regardless of whether you were company-sponsored or received your CDL from a private school, you should treat your first job as an opportunity to learn. Experience what it is like on the road and learn about this new job. The more you learn about truck driving will also help you to learn about what you want your career goals to be in the future.

Landing your first truck driving job can be just as exciting as earning your CDL. Keep this positive attitude throughout your first year. Stay dedicated to the job, and you can reach your long-term career goals.

About The Author
Contributor: Jessica Cottner (Experienced writer with a background in travel and transportation).